I had the pleasure of hearing Larry Weaner speak many years ago when I was still pretty much of a novice with natural landscaping and native plants, so I am pleased to learn he will be part of a podcast on Establishing and Maintaining Native Meadows in the Eastern USA on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 2:00PM ET (1:00PM CT). That’s tomorrow!
Larry is founder and principal of Larry Weaner Landscape Associates and he wrote the Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be A Source of Environmental Change with Thomas Christopher (Timber Press 2016). Ann Aldrich, as past Restoration Director worked with Larry to restore the meadows in Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy in Georgetown, Washington DC.
All three should bring interesting information and comments about converting existing non-native vegetation to a healthy, self-sustaining native landscaping.
Meadow or Prairie
Native habitats made up of grasses and wildflowers in the East are often referred to as meadows rather than prairies. Although both may contain many of the same grass and wildflower species, prairies are typically associated with the Midwest. A Canadian publication entitled Planting The Seed: A Guide to Establishing Prairie and Meadow Communities in Southern Ontario describes them as follows:
“What is a prairie? A prairie is an ecological community made up of native grasses and wildflowers. Mature trees (predominantly oaks) are a minor component on some sites, providing less than 10 percent canopy cover.Grasses such as big bluestem, Indian grass and prairie cord grass can grow higher than 2 metres, their tops swaying overhead as they move with the breeze. Tall sunflower, Virginia Culver’s-root and dense blazing star are examples of the more than 200 prairie wildflowers, or forbs, found interspersed among the grasses….
What is a meadow? A meadow is a warm, sunny spot, brimming with a variety of life. Wildflowers such as spotted Joe-pye-weed, boneset, blue vervain and swamp milkweed, as well as a number of wetland sedges and grasses, can be found in wetter areas. Black-eyed Susan, wild strawberry and gray goldenrod may occupy drier spots.
As most meadow wildflowers are nectar sources, they attract a variety of butterflies such as swallowtails, admirals, checkerspots and skippers. Meadows provide feeding and nesting areas for songbirds such as bobolinks and meadowlarks. They may also provide shelter for frogs and small mammals, which in turn attract hawks, owls and snakes.”